Bea Arthur's Secret Rape

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur was one of television's most successful leading ladies. She starred in the two enormously popular sitcoms - Maude and The Golden Girls. Most of her fans would be shocked to learn that Bea kept a lifelong secret about being sexually assaulted. She was born n Bernice Frankel on May 13, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, During World War 2 she volunteered with the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve. Sadly she was raped by one of her superior officers and contracted a venereal disease. Like many women Bea never reported her rape. In 1944 she was dishonorably discharged from the Marines Corps when she tested positive for the STD. For the rest of her life she would deny that she had ever served in the military. She studied acting in New York and and began her career in the theater. Bea married Robert Alan Aurthur, a screenwriter and producer, in 1947. They divorced three years later and she married director Gene Saks. She made her Broadway debut in the 1954 play The Threepenny Opera. Bea won a Tony award in 1966 for her performance in the hit musical Mame.

Bea ArthurBea Arthur Magazine Cover

Unfortunately she was unable to have children because of the STD she contracted during her assault. She and Gene adopted two sons - Matthew and Daniel. In 1972 producer Norman Lear hired fifty-year old Bea to star in his television comedy Maude. The show was a huge success and made history when Maude became the first TV character to have an abortion. In one dramatic episode Maude confronts a man who sexually assaulted her years before. Bea became one of the most popular actresses on television and was featured on numerous magazine covers. She also won an Emmy award for the show. Her marriage to Gene ended in 1978, the same year Maude was cancelled. She returned to television in 1985 to star in the comedy The Golden Girls. It became another hit show and she won her second Emmy award in 1988. She decided to leave The Golden Girls after seven seasons. Bea was a proud feminist and a lifelong Democrat. She was also a big supporter of animal rights. On April 26, 2009 she died of cancer at the age of eighty-six. In her will she left more than $300,000 to support homeless gay and lesbian teens. She never discussed her sexual assault publicly.

Bea Arthur In The Marines
Bea when she was in the Marines

Bea ArthurBea Arthur